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New insights into coral skeleton formation

Posted on 30 October 2013

Physicists shed new light on coral skeleton formation.

The investigations, part of which was carried out at the York JEOL Nanocentre, provide valuable insight into the coral skeletal formation and new information for scientists and environmentalists working to protect and conserve coral from the threats of acidification and rising seawater temperatures.  As corals grow, they produce limestone – calcium carbonate – skeletons which build up over time into vast reefs. The skeleton’s role is to help the coral’s upper living biofilm to move towards the light and nutrients. The scientists used Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) to analyse the crystals in minute detail to understanding the calcification mechanism by which these skeletons are formed. 

For further information please see the Universities news item